We found these little beauties at our local farmer’s market this weekend, and we had to come up with a cool and easy recipe to share. These baby eggplants like to be stuffed, and are in fact the perfect size for this technique. Being as small as they are, the outer shell of the eggplant cooks completely as the filling cooks so no prior prep or precooking is needed before they are stuffed. They’re less than 4 inches in diameter (called “Nubia” eggplants), and probably the best tasting mini variety.
Our recipe is a slight variation on classic Italian cooking, which includes the flesh removed from the eggplants, onions, garlic, tomatoes, eggs, cheese – and a bit of pancetta. Since you can serve this at room temperature, this dish is an elegant touch to any party, even a tailgate event.
Author: Mr. Serious Foodie
Serves: 4 servings
Use your imagination to create variations on this recipe, such as substituting in feta cheese for Pecarino and mint instead of the oregano
4 to 6 baby eggplants
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, Peeled & finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese (or parmesan)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano
Salt & Pepper
Topping: 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Optional: Fig dressing using Serious Foodie Fig Sauce (click HERE for recipe)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the eggplants in half, and use a sharp knife to cut around the outer edge leaving a small border without piercing the skin.
Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, and finely chop it.
Place the eggplants cut side up on a baking sheet.
In a frying pan over medium heat, render the pancetta until crispy then remove. Keep just enough fat to coat the pan, then cook the onion until it is translucent, and 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and eggplant flesh, and continue to cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes until the mixture is thick.
Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, parsley, oregano, cooked pancetta, and salt and pepper to taste with the eggplant mixture.
Spoon the filling in to the eggplant shells, and top with the grated cheese.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.
For an extra flavor boost, drizzle with the Fig dressing